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Rescue Knives/Seatbelt Cutters. How necessary are they?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by quux, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. quux

    quux Loaded Pockets

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    I'm a little confused by the proliferation of 'rescue knives' a.k.a seatbelt cutters these days.

    I've personally been in a rollover accident (came to rest upside down), and the seatbelt buckle let me loose without problem, as it is designed to do. As a volunteer fireman, all of the vehicle accidents I have responded to (admittedly only around 10 of them) were the same - the buckle was accessible, and unlatched without problem.

    How many of you have been in situations where cutting the seatbelt was the best or only option? I guess what I am asking is: as clever as these things look, how useful are they really? Especially if you have a pair of EMT shears handy?
     
  2. spydee

    spydee Loaded Pockets

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    I'm a cop and used them once to cut open a tight t-shirt while performing CPR to attach an AED... of course I could've used EMT shears, if I had them on me at the time :) I never had to cut any seatbelts so far, so no experience there...
     
  3. Larwyn

    Larwyn Loaded Pockets

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    A few years ago I was following a conversion van on a winding farm to market road in South Texas. The van in front of me swerved sharply off the road as a loaded log truck topped a hill right in front of it, I also had to leave the road but probably due to the warning I got from seeing the other van leave the road did so much more smoothly. The other van came sliding back onto the highway, swayed from side to side a couple of times with the wheels on one side leaving the surface of the road. The van ended up on it's side, in the middle of a blind curve at the top of a hill on a narrow two lane highway. If I had taken the time to evaluate this whole situation I probably would not have reacted the way I did, but what I did do was run up to the van which was now laying on the driver's side. I helped the drive out through the front where the windshield once had been, once inside the van there was a young girl in the front passenger seat, which in this case was above me. The girl was no lightweight and all her weight was on the seatbelt and armrest of the passenger seat, I tried releasing the seatbelt but it seemed to be locked up due to the weight of the passenger. I carried a Schrade LB-7 every day which I used on the job frequently, so I instinctively pulled and opened the knife with one hand while using the other to create a bit of space between the belt and the passenger for the blade and cut the belt. Once I had her out of the van she told me her brother was in the back. So I went back in the van and found a young boy standing on the side wall of the van with the belt twisted behind him. I did not take time to find the buckle this time as I realized how likely it was for the van to be hit by a car topping that hill in the curve. I just cut the belt near the seat but it was twisted up so tightly that the boy was still not free so I had to cut the other end of the belt to free him and get out of there. With both ends cut the belt did fall free as we exited the van so I have never figured why I had to cut that belt twice.

    This is my only experience with this type of situation so I cannot say if it is typical, only that this is how it happened in this one case. The driver was strangely angry and rude to me, I did not figure out until later that she thought I was the driver of the log truck which ran her off the road (he never stopped). Someone called the sheriff and they blocked traffic before anybody hit the van. My old LB-7 worked fine as a seatbelt cutter so I have also wondered why people who already have a knife would need a special tool for the purpose.
     
  4. zshiner

    zshiner Loaded Pockets

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    I just purchased a life hammer for each of my vehicles.

    I EDC and Knife and I have a serrated knife in my truck.

    I have happened upon two accidents in my lifetime, both I was there first and both times the seatbelt released. I saw on TV an accident where the family had left a burning car (gas tank and the back of the upside down car fully engulfed in flames). The parents were screaming for a knife to cut the seatbelt. The passer by went through the broken windshield and cut the belt freeing the upside down child.

    I will always have the ability to break a window and cut a belt when I drive. The belt I cut or the window I need to break might be my own.
     
  5. Flight-ER-Doc

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

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    I have a lifehammer in each vehicle too - for the hammer, not the seatbelt cutter. They're so cheap to include (it's just a utility blade) that it's a natural 'feature' for the manufacturers to include.

    I have EMT shears, and a Benchmade Model 7 rescue hook in each medical bag too. The Benchmade is to make it quick to get body armor, backpacks, etc off of people. Sometimes you want to get them freed up without moving them too much.
     
  6. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge Loaded Pockets

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    I have a strange attraction to rescue knives, I just find them fascinating and want to own them all. But I confess to not owning any ... actually I think 15 years ago I bought one of the very early models, not sure where it is anymore. That said, I think there's little excuse not to have a Res-Q-Me or Houdini tool on your keychain or somewhere securely fastened near the driver's seat. They are extremely cheap (<$15) insurance, by all reports work as advertised, and I've read of numerous situations (including a number where the seatbelt failed to unlock, and others where the windows wouldn't open) where one of these might have made a real difference.
     
  7. sveqs

    sveqs Loaded Pockets

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    they may also be useful in less-than-emergency cases

    once we were at a children's sports event and a mum asked me to help remove the plastic bracelet the organiser issued as entry pass from the wrist of her little boy. He was really small, the bracelet was snug, and all I had on me way my 3" folder. It (a) may have looked frightening for the kid, (b) you dont want to mess around with a pointy thing around the arteries of an infant, or before the eyes of his mother, for that matter, and (c) it was no use anyway because there was simply no room for me to insert the blade between the wrist and the bracelet. So I just tore the thing off of him... :idiot2:

    Also, when I go to a supermarket and want to open a shrinkwrap packaging of soda bottles, for instance, I would prefer something like a Boker Rescom (and these are the very reasons I am going to tell my family when I finally get one ;) )

    I also wanted to give family members Res-Q-Me tools for christmas but my wife said it is not very festive to say "merry christmas, here, just in case your car rolls" :laugh: so they'll get it some other time
     
  8. nick nitro

    nick nitro Loaded Pockets

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    I confess to being prepared. I have a hook knife on my dive gear. Never used one in 30yrs of tactical diving. I did cut some fishing mono off my lower leg once, but I was already back on the dock. Always carried a hook knife on my chute. Never had to use it. Always carried a hook knife of some sort (just replaced the old one with a new one from Zero Tolerance) on my tactical vest. Never had to use one. As a patrol officer I always carried one in my patrol car. Used it once in 31 years for a rather large kid in the backseat of a car that the seat belt retractor malfunctioned and kept getting tighter on the kid. He was in distress, but not a life threatening situation. I cut the belt because there was just no other way to release the belt.

    With all that preparation, I have only needed it once. And that was not a "emergency". In summary. I was prepared and had it when I needed it but I lugged that stuff around for years. Imagine lugging it around for years and then one day say to yourself "enough of that" and leave it home or toss it aside as a non essential.......and then you round that corner one day minding your own business and that large kids mom is running up to you screaming about her kid....
     
  9. sveqs

    sveqs Loaded Pockets

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    good point :iagree: when it comes to potentially life-saving investments, it's best if they turn out to be a waste of money...
     
  10. quux

    quux Loaded Pockets

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    Well, yeah, but that way lies madness, in my own humble opinion. Why didn't I bring along those splints, or that backboard, or ...

    We all pick our own loads, I guess.
     
  11. ssmtbracer

    ssmtbracer EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I have the Benchmade Houdini pro in the car. has glass break, seat belt cutter, and LED light.